After revelations this week that certain New Jersey bars and TGI Fridays had been surreptitiously serving cheap liquor in place of the fancy stuff, the Post decided to take matters into their own hands and run a taste test. And it turns out that not all palates are delicate enough to tell the difference between top-shelf alcohol and the stuff that can occasionally be used to clean your shower: nearly half of the volunteers preferred the cheaper booze.
The Post surveyed 50 drinkers, giving them Grey Goose and an $8 vodka to try—22 of them noted what many of us discovered in our freshman dorm rooms: any alcohol will do once you've had enough of it. "You wouldn’t be able to tell the difference, especially if you had a few drinks," one taste tester said. Which is probably what 29 New Jersey bars figured, too, since they were busted by the SLA for charging premium prices for low-end booze (and, in some cases, rubbing alcohol and food-coloring, hurrah!). And that type of deception isn't just limited to the Garden State, since a number of NYC nightclubs and bars were subject to the same kind of raid a few years ago.
But just because the cheap hooch will still get you drunk doesn't mean making that kind of substitution is fair: "Even if you can’t tell the difference, you are paying more, and that’s not right. If it’s bad liquor, then you’re going to have to deal with it in the morning with a hangover," one tester told the Post—though it should be noted that personal experimentation with fancy liqueur for journalism has proven even the most expensive rum to leave one crumpled on the bathroom floor, kissing the cool tile for solace.
The Post's taste-test isn't the first endeavor of its kind, either, with earlier efforts from other publications like the NY Times delving into the expensive vs. cheap liquor debate. The lesson learned from all this? Stick with candy-infused vodka, instead.